Sri Lanka says 19 Tamil rebels, 1 soldier killed in new northern battles

Nineteen Tamil Tiger rebels and a Sri Lankan soldier were killed in a new round of fighting in the island's restive north, the military said Sunday. Battles broke out Saturday on the northern front lines of the Jaffna, Vavuniya, Mannar and Welioya regions as soldiers tried to push into the rebel stronghold, a military official said. The worst clashes were reported in several villages of Vavuniya district where 12 rebels were killed, the official said on condition of anonymity, in line with government rules. Three rebels were killed in Mannar and four rebels and a soldier were killed in Welioya, the official said.